EBK Activity Sheets


Dark Age Palaces
Buildings galore
  • Plan of the Anglo-Saxon Royal Palace at Cheddar in Somerset -  Nash Ford PublishingBritish & Saxon Royal or Bishop's palaces covered large areas of land. They were surrounded by an 'enclosure'. Thane's had smaller enclosures.
  • A British enclosure was usually the walls of a Roman town or the earth ditches and banks of a hillfort. There would have been a gated palisade (strong wooden wall) on top of the banks.
  • A Saxon enclosure might be made up of walls (possibly Roman), fences, hedges, earth banks, ditches, rivers or a combination of these. There would also be entrance gates.
  • Within the enclosure were lots of buildings. The main building would be the great hall (British or Saxon).
  • There might also be a kitchen, a bower (lord's private room, where the women of his family relaxed and weaved), a toilet block, a pagan temple or Christian chapel, a meeting grandstand, a porter's lodge (house for entrance guards), a mill, granaries (grain storage house) or animal barns.
  • Thane's had to own a bell to call men together in times of trouble. They sometimes had a look-out tower to keep it in.
  • There might also be open or covered areas for animals, food processing (animal and vegetable) or industry (woodworking, metalworking, bone working, pottery, etc).
  • This is a plan of how the Royal palace at Cheddar in Somerset looked in the 10th century. The Witan (king's advisors) met with the king here several times. It was excavated by archaeologists from 1960 to 1962.
  • Can you work out what all the buildings and other areas were used for? Click here for some clues.
  • Activity Sheet available.


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